Dilligaf FC defeated the Standard in the LEAFA Sunday IME League Cup Final at Civil Service on Sunday, to secure the first part of a potential cup double for the West Lothian side.
Stephen McKee’s second-half strike proved enough for a 1-0 victory for Colin Flannigan’s team, who play the President’s Cup Final against Liberton Thistle this Sunday.
Flannigan was delighted to have bagged the trophy in his club’s first season and said: “The boys played well, in the second half we were amazing. It means the world to us to win this in our first season. Now we’ll look to the President’s Cup but we know Liberton will be a tough game.”
Standard began the match the better team, looking to work the ball from back to front down the right-hand side, with full-back Steven Wear proving the first port of call for goalkeeper Steven Parker.
And they could have been two goals ahead in the early period, but frontman Struan Preston spurned his opportunities.
First, the lone-striker stung the gloves of Dilligaf stopper Kevin Lawrence with a powerful strike on ten minutes before dragging the ball wide of goal when he found himself one-on-one with Lawrence soon after.
Referee Mike Scott then waved away penalty claims when Standard midfielder Ross Purvis looked to have been brought down inside the penalty area. Further chances for the Standard came about in the first period, but their finishing was proving wasteful despite producing some tidy football to create chances.
Standard winger Jonny Wallace showed great trickery down the left flank on the half-hour but nobody was on hand to turn home his low-driven cross across the six-yard line.
Purvis then could have opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, but his header from Neil Souness’ corner flashed wide of Lawrence’s right-hand post.
Dilligaf hit their opponents with a sucker-punch shortly after the restart when they scored what would prove to be the winning goal.
After a corner from the right, the ball broke to the feet of midfielder Stephen McKee on the edge of the box, who did superbly to drill the ball low and hard past Parker between the Standard sticks, who could do little to prevent the opener.
Standard refused to surrender, with skipper Stuart George showing strong running from midfield. All too often he was felled by a resolute Dilligaf defence, who were not shirking any challenges and appeared to be buoyed after taking the lead.
Player-manager Steven Parker kept his Standard side organised throughout, proving very vocal in goal and always trying to motivate his players. And his calls for an equaliser could well have been answered ten minutes from time when Robbie Stewart created an opportunity. After picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, Stewart showed neat skill as he jinked past three defenders before being brought to ground by Lawrence.
This sparked appeals for a penalty for Standard but again Mike Scott opted against awarding a spot-kick, instead giving a Dilligaf free-kick for a foul against Lawrence.
With Standard chasing the game in the latter stages, Dilligaf had chances to wrap the game up on the counter-attack and perhaps should have done, first through Sean Flannigan. A great cross from the left flank found Flannigan unmarked in the area, but his volleyed effort went high over the crossbar.
Dilligaf’s Matthew Knott then found himself clean through on goal after beating the offside trap, but he was also wasteful, as Parker made himself big, making a good stop from the midfielder’s advances.
Souness’ late free-kick almost provided a late equaliser, but it was to prove too much on the day for Steven Parker’s men who was more than positive despite losing out on the trophy.
He said: “I think we passed the ball well, but they were hungrier for the victory than ourselves. I’m happy enough with the way the boys played their football. It’s our first season together as a team and I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Dilligaf FC: Kevin Lawrence, David Watson, Robert Nisbet, Robbie Law, Scott Lyon, Stephen McKee, Kyle McLaughlan, Calum Vallantyne, Sean Flannigan, Jamie Docherty, Daniel Flannigan, Matthew Knott, Kenneth McKenzie, Brian Durkin, Hyden Pettigrew, Barry Graham.
The Standard: Steven Parker, Steven Wear, Neil Souness, Jimmy Butcher, Fraser O’Neil, Ross Purvis, Calum Wallace, Stuart George, Struan Preston, Tam Gillian, Jonny Wallace, Thomas Rea, Andrew Watson, Paul Henderson, Robbie Stewart, Chris Cannon.